[Screen It]


(2015) (Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez) (PG)

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Comedy: While on vacation in Las Vegas, a mall security cop tries to save his daughter from a group of criminals who are stealing valuable artwork from the casino hotel.
Paul Blart (KEVIN JAMES) is a divorced dad and single father to high school senior Maya (RAINI RODRIGUEZ) who hasn't gotten up the courage to tell him she might attend UCLA. Due to his exemplary work as a security guard at a mall in West Orange, New Jersey, he's invited to attend a security officers convention in Las Vegas. There, he meets Divina Martinez (DANIELLA ALONSO), the hotel's general manager who he believes is hitting on him, as well as Eduardo Furtillo (EDUARDO VERASTEGUI), the hotel's head of security who looks down on Paul.

At the same time, Maya ends up hanging out with one of the hotel's valets, Lane (DAVID HENRIE), and accidentally stumbles upon some criminal activity. It seems that criminal mastermind Vincent Sofel (NEAL McDONOUGH) and his team are plotting on stealing all of the hotel's valuable artwork. When Paul learns that Vincent's goons have kidnapped his daughter, he steps into action to save her and thwart their plan.

OUR TAKE: 3 out of 10
Our reviewing policy for films that aren't shown in advance to critics is that we'll only provide a paragraph or two about the film's artistic merits or, more accurately, lack thereof. After all, life is too short to spend any more effort than that on a movie that even the releasing studio knows isn't any good (which is why they hid it from reviewers before its release).

There are various reasons for lapses in memory. Sometimes it's just age where the neurons don't fire like they did in younger years. At others, it's a traumatic head injury that causes people to have problems recalling things. And then there are the times when something has been so emotionally traumatic that the brain simply wipes away or covers up related memories for the sake of the victim's overall state.

I sometimes think my grey matter is looking out for me when I'm traumatized by movies. I'm not talking about those with disturbing material or shocking images. No, I'm referring to movies that are so bad that my brain figures the only way to prevent permanent damage is to blank out as many memories as possible. I'm sure that's what happened with the 2009 comedy "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" as I simply don't recall much about the film beyond star Kevin James riding around a mall on a Segway when not involved in pratfalls and other slapstick style material.

Having just sat through the six-years-in-the-making sequel -- "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2," also starring James as the title character -- I can only hope my brain will still be looking out for me. It's just more of the same -- courtesy of James and fellow scribe Nick Bakay -- in a new locale, and your enjoyment (or not) of the material will depend solely on whether you find James' portrayal of this character (and all of the exaggerated mannerisms, bravado and physicality) entertaining.

Director Andy Finkman does little to make anything interesting from a comedic or action standpoint. But if you're looking for a full-length advert for Steve Wynn's namesake hotel, you'll enjoy the various views of that gorgeous piece of lodging. At least I remembered that place from a previous visit, but I (thankfully and hopefully) won't recall much from his misfire in a few hours. "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2" rates as a 3 out of 10.

Reviewed April 16, 2015 / Posted April 17, 2015

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